News & Events

Baystate Health to Keep Open Greenfield Mental Health Unit at Baystate Franklin Medical Center Following Years of Advocacy by Nurses and Community

The 22-bed mental health unit in Greenfield will remain open even as Baystate Health and LifePoint Health move toward opening Holyoke facility in August

GREENFIELD, Mass. – Baystate Health’s decision to keep open the 22-bed mental health unit at Baystate Franklin Medical Center means nurses and other healthcare workers will be able to continue providing local, high-quality care close to patients’ homes and support services, while also demonstrating the power of collective action by caregivers and the community who have long advocated for keeping care local.

“This decision proves that when we work together to keep care local, we can help our patients receive the quality care they deserve,” said Suzanne Love, RN in the BFMC emergency department and MNA Co-Chair. “We are grateful that Baystate Health has maintained an open mind about keeping these mental health beds open and we are proud to have worked collaboratively to make sure our patients can receive appropriate care.”

“We are glad to see that patients in the Greenfield area who need inpatient mental health services will continue to be able to access the care they need close to home,” said Donna Stern, RN in the mental health unit at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. “The potential closure of our mental health unit would have made it harder for patients to access quality care, recover close to their loved ones and connect with local resources.”

US HealthVest partnered with Baystate Health in February 2019 to build a behavioral health hospital in Holyoke. Baystate also announced plans to close all the mental health beds at its community hospitals in Greenfield, Palmer, and Westfield. A coalition of nurses and healthcare workers, elected officials, labor unions, and community members came together to advocate for the preservation of the local mental health beds, holding community forums, drafting research papers, and distributing lawn signs.

In November 2019, the US HealthVest partnership fell apart and Baystate eventually struck a new partnership with Kindred Behavioral Health, a division of for-profit company LifePoint Health. They plan to open a 150-bed behavioral health hospital in Holyoke in August 2023. Baystate is also continuing with its plans to close the mental health beds at Baystate Noble Hospital and Baystate Wing Hospital.

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Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.